David Davis has said the Government will continue to plan for a no-deal scenario despite reaching an agreement with Brussels on the transition period last week.
The Brexit Secretary said that progress made in the negotiations meant it was now “incredibly probable very, very highly probable” that there would be a final deal reached with the EU.
But he compared the Government’s continued no-deal preparation to insurance, telling BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “You don't expect your house to burn down, it's less than a one in 100,000 chance, but you have house insurance anyway.”
Mr Davis added that “you can never stop making arrangements” for a potential no-deal scenario, “because that’s one of the things that guarantees the deal”.
“Also countries always prepare. France is preparing, Holland is preparing, Belgium and Germany are preparing – none of them expect it to happen but make preparations just in case."
His comments follows the Brexit minister Lord Callanan’s remarks in the Lords last week in which he insisted that if Parliament votes down the deal agreed between Theresa May and the EU27 then the UK would still leave the bloc, without a deal.
Asked by peers what the Government would do should the Commons reject the final deal, he replied: “In such circumstances – first, we hope that Parliament will not reject it and we will negotiate for the best possible outcome – that would be an instruction to move ahead without a deal.”
On the contentious issue of the Northern Irish border, Mr Davis also insisted that there would be trade or technological solution to avoid control points at the frontier. When challenged that there were no other borders of that kind in the world, Mr Davis said: “We have got a whole load of new technology now.”
He added: “There are ways to do this, you can't just say 'we haven't done it anywhere else', we haven't attempted to do it anywhere else.”
Pressed on Labour's planned amendment to Brexit legislation, Mr Davis said he would have to see what they came up with.
But he added: “We will not allow a return to the borders of the past, we will preserve - at all costs - the Belfast Agreement."
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